Commentary Type

Invited Commentary


Woodruff (2017) has compiled a convincing array of data to support his contention that teleost fish feel pain. However, in the absence of an explanatory theory about the nature and function of consciousness, a checklist of criteria is insufficient to allay skeptical concerns. I offer a theory that can explain why features like selective attention and behavioral flexibility indicate consciousness. Consciousness represents the present moment in order to allow dynamic changes in actions or goals in response to situational demands.

Author Biography

Paula Droege is a Teaching Professor in the Philosophy Department at Pennsylvania State University. Her research on philosophical theories of consciousness proposes an essential role for temporal representation in conscious states. She is the author of Caging the Beast: A Theory of Sensory Consciousness, and articles on the role of consciousness in memory, free will, and delusions such as confabulation.